Hull, William, 1753–1825, American general, b. Derby, Conn. He served brilliantly in the American Revolution and became in 1805 governor of the newly created Michigan Territory. As the War of 1812 began he asked Congress for a larger U.S. fleet on Lake Erie and reinforcements for Detroit. Hull, in command of Detroit, failed to make a planned attack on Canada and instead remained in Detroit until British forces under Sir Isaac Brock seized the fort on Aug. 16, 1812, capturing many supplies. Hull was court-martialed for cowardice and neglect of duty, and only his Revolutionary War record prevented his execution. Subsequent evidence has shown that Hull was not solely to blame for the disastrous campaign.
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Hull, William(1753–1825) soldier; born in Derby, Conn. A Yale graduate, he joined the Revolutionary forces in 1775 and saw action at White Plains, Trenton, Saratoga, and Monmouth. After the war he practiced law in Newton, Mass.; in 1805 he accepted Jefferson's offer of the governorship of the Michigan Territory. In 1812 Hull led a small army into Ontario, but retreated on the appearance of a combined British and Indian force; he withdrew into the fortifications of Detroit, where he surrendered his entire force without a battle on Aug. 16, 1812. Tried for cowardice, found guilty, and sentenced to be shot, he received a presidential reprieve and retired into obscurity.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.